From the proceedings of the first conference on environmental protection for Kagyu monasteries and centres held from 21 – 25 March 2009 at the Vajra Vidya institute, Sarnath India:
HIS HOLINESS, THE KARMAPA EMPHASISES IN PARTICULAR THE FOLLOWING EIGHT STRATEGIES:
1. Create a mandala of nature. It should be a special place on your property that is an offering of all the wonderful things in nature; flowers, trees, water; recognising that the earth itself is an offering. This will be in keeping with our own Kagyu tradition since Tsurphu monastery is known as the celestial palace and even as Chakrasamvara’s mandala. If you do not own enough land for such a project, please consider a rooftop or balcony garden.
2. Everybody should create a vegetable garden. Another option is to build it with your local community on common lands. The result should be a healthy and environmentally friendly lifestyle.
3. Don’t buy many vehicles. Keep in mind how harmful vehicles are for the environment; they emit carbon and contribute to climate change greatly. Therefore you should think twice about buying one and if you do, research for vehicles with the smallest emissions.
4. Reduce and eventually eliminate the use of plastic; whether it is bottled or plastic wrapped fruit and sweet. Plastic is always harmful, there is NO safe plastic. In all cases, please make the effort, when shopping to buy the option that has the least packaging.
5. Do not waste food. Spoilt leftovers and kitchen waste can be recycled in your wormery or compost bin.
6. Be interested where your daily food comes from. Vegetarians should differentiate between the different types of eggs that are available. Make sure that the laying hens are free-range and not caged. If you do eat meat, reduce the frequency and make sure the meat comes from a farm where the animals are treated with respect. (Veld reared, free range, organic)
7. We should do our best to use solar, water and wind power and thus, reduce our dependence on harmful types of energy. There are many options available for alternative energy installations. As a minimum consider a solar geyser, which will reduce your electricity bill by up to 50% and the investment is paid back in 3-4 years.
8. It is clear that the forests are very important for all life on earth. Plant at least 20 indigenous fruit/nut bearing trees per year for at least 5 years and care for them to maturity. Alternatively donate the trees and time to a worthy cause that is planting trees for the community.
I hereby commit all centres and members of Kagyu Africa to pursue these strategies wherever possible and in good faith.
Signed on the day of Losar 14 February 2010 at Tara Rokpa Centre, Groot Marico, South Africa by
The Honourable Akong Rinpoche (Tulku)